Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Calling Out Appropriation: Learning about the Native Community In Seattle

Native American history is one that is deeply rooted within the creation of our nation-- The fables, the history, the art not only give us life lessons, but draw a path for the future. Native American history has left an imprint on our country. It is important that we honor and celebrate this community in their own right. 
When we think of Native American Heritage, it is important to remember that the Native American community is incredibly diverse with varied traditions and cultural practices that represent different tribal nations. Main stream culture often does not accurately represent or respectfully depict Native Americans, and does not account for their diversity. Along with this, Native American symbols and tradition are often misused and abused by those who neglect to look into the culture and the history of the people they are representing. This practice is called cultural appropriation, which is the act of taking or appropriating the cultural ideas, expressions, artifacts, symbols, fashion, or history of a culture that is not one’s own. In this way, people have taken and continue to take pieces of Native American culture and tradition and use them for their own benefit without asking for the permission of the people these traditions come from.If you want to learn more about this, there is an awesome blog called Native Appropriations that gives current examples of how this process of appropriation continues to hurt and misrepresent the Native Community today. 
Instead of appropriating the beautiful, unique, and diverse aspects of different Native communities, I wanted to find more ways that we can celebrate, recognize and be aware of the communities in our area. And specifically, I wanted to find some things that Native Youth in our area are doing to create community and celebrate their culture.

Resources for Urban Native Youth In Seattle

Seattle has some pretty cool resources for Native youth. 

Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council is one of those organizations. Their main goals are to enhance tribal identities as well as increase personal growth and wellness. The meetings are a way for Native American Youth to engage in different cultural activities, as well as community building and social gatherings. They gather every Tuesday at the Heritage Cafeteria (1330 N. 9th Ave Seattle) from 6:00-8:30 pm. 

RedEagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre is another great way for urban Native youth to find community and empowerment through performing arts, music, and storytelling that celebrates their Native tradition, history, and culture.

To learn more about different non profits around the Seattle area that work to foster the urban Native community check on the The Native Circle at. http://thenativecircle.org/nonprofits/.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trans Awareness Month

November is Trans Awareness Month
The LGBTQ community has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately, especially in Washington State with the legalization of same-sex marriage. However, there is a part of the community that isn’t talked about, and that is the Trans community.
Our society generally works under the assumption that everyone is cisgender- this means that all people are assigned a single gender at birth, and they live their lives as that single gender without any conflict.
This system excludes all Trans people. In its simplest form, someone who is Trans is assigned a gender at birth that they do not identify with. This can include people who are transgender, people who are genderqueer, people who are agender, etc.
People who are in the Trans community are frequently faced with discrimination and prejudice. In addition to this, there is a large amount of abuse and violence against those who are Trans.
To honor all those who have lost their lives, the 20th of November is Transgender Remembrance Day.
There will be an event for this in Seattle,  and the information is below:

Transgender Day of Remembrance event
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Ravenna United Methodist Church
5751 33rd Avenue N.E.

Seattle, Wa. 98105

This is a non-religious ceremony

All are welcome.

For further information, please e-mail Melissa at 

Lastly, if you need any resources or just want to talk, you can call Teen Link. We are open every night from 6-10pm pacific standard time. Our number is 1866TeenLink or 1866-833-6546. Every teen answering the phone line is an ally, and as always, we are an anonymous, confidential, and non-judgmental support line.